how-do-i-stop-tension-headachesMany patients visit our Calgary, AB migraine relief clinic for tension headaches. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. However, this does not mean you should just accept it as a normal part of life. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to tame your tension headaches, and you will learn more about that later on in this blog. 

What’s a Tension Headache?

The term “headache” is often thrown around as a descriptor for anything that gives one a hard time, and there is some truth to it. Headaches, in general, are not fun to experience. 

Tension headaches are also referred to as stress headaches. About 50 percent of adults have experienced tension headaches in the last year. Women experience these mild and short-lived headaches twice as often as men. Teens and children also suffer from tension headaches. 

Causes of Tension Headaches

Many factors contribute to the onset of tension headaches, including the following:

  • Stress
  • Impaired sleep
  • Skipping meals

We can also blame other various conditions for tension headaches such as vision problems, eye strain, overexertion, and poor posture resulting in muscle strain. 

Tension headaches and migraines are two different things. Certain foods and weather changes can trigger migraines, but these things cannot cause tension headaches. Migraines are also known for nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, and one-sided head pain. Tension headaches do not have all these symptoms. However, it is possible to experience a migraine and a tension headache at the same time. In fact, a tension headache may trigger a migraine episode. 

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines, download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

Common Symptoms of Tension Headaches

Most of the time, tension headaches are temporary, and they occur occasionally. They usually go away within a few minutes to a few hours. In rare occasions, a tension headache may last for a few days. If you experience tension headaches for more than 15 days in a month, you have chronic tension headaches.

When people describe tension headaches, the following characteristics are common:

  • Feeling like a band-like sensation wrapping around the skull
  • Coming and going in severity
  • Feeling muscle tension in the shoulder or neck area
  • Impacting the entire head but usually starts more in the back or above the eyebrows
  • Constant and pressure-like pain
  • Coming on slowly and even at its worst is not debilitating
  • Seldom causes sensitivity to light and sound
  • Not debilitating enough to impact daily routines and tasks

Getting a Diagnosis for Tension Headache

No diagnostic test can confirm nor deny tension headaches, but doctors often check the patient’s symptoms along with the results of the physical examination. They do not recommend a CT scan or an MRI as they are rarely necessary. They may order some blood work to rule out any underlying conditions.

Ways to Tame Your Tension Headaches

One of the best ways to keep tension headaches at bay is by keeping stress to a minimum in your life. This can be challenging to achieve, but with the right methods and mindset, it can be achieved. Here are some stress management techniques you can try.


Working out can be a key to compensating for stressors in your life. Exercise improves your physical fitness and helps in managing your stress. It can also help you get a better night’s sleep and remove you from a stressful event or environment, even just for a short time.

Relaxation techniques

These techniques can benefit your mental and physical well-being by helping you control stress.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This helps relieve the tension in your muscles. It is easy to learn, as it does not need any special skills or conditioning. You tense a muscle as you breathe in, and you relax it as you breathe out. You can do this with each muscle group in different areas of the body. Do this for about 10 minutes or until all your muscles are consciously made more relaxed. 
  • Biofeedback: It is one way of learning to control stress responses and change the body’s reactions by examining information that is not ordinarily available. Monitoring the heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and working to control these things can be valuable in stress management.
  • Imagery: Also called guided imagery, this is utilizing calming, pleasant images to relax your mind and body. This is another easy technique to learn, and even kids can do it. 

End Tension Headaches Through Natural Care

One approach that has proven to bring success in caring for any type of headache is upper cervical care Calgary. Various case studies have noted that a misaligned bone in the upper neck area can be the underlying cause of headaches. When an atlas misalignment occurs, it can hinder the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and oxygen-rich blood to the brain. The brainstem can also be put under pressure and may start sending faulty signals to the brain. Either of these can result in headaches.


To schedule a consultation with Vibe Health & Spine, call our Calgary office at (403) 266-2283. You can also click the button below.

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